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INDIANAPOLIS — Hospitals continue to plea with both unvaccinated and vaccinated Hoosiers to either start their vaccine series or get boosted.

“The real situation is that the hospital is full,” said Dr. Graham Carlos, Executive Medical Director at Eskenazi Health. “We are at times having to go on diversion, much like the other hospitals in Indianapolis, to divert critically ill patients away just because we don’t have the capacity to handle all the cases that are coming in.”

Still, Dr. Graham Carlos said he receives phone calls almost daily from critical access hospitals all over Indiana looking to transfer patients to Indianapolis.

“And I have to tell them that we do not have currently any beds and the best I can offer is putting them on a waitlist,” said Dr. Carlos. “So I fear for the patients all around Indiana who are trying to get to the big city hospitals but simply have not been able to.”

As of Tuesday December 21, there are currently 70 COVID-19 inpatients at Eskenazi hospitals. Of those admitted, roughly 25-30 patients are in the ICU on ventilators and roughly 95% are unvaccinated.

Taking a look at the data straight from the Indiana Department of Health, a graph tracking daily COVID-19 cases shows just how high our summer and winter peaks have been. Tuesday’s daily case count reached levels our state has not seen since mid-January.

However, graphs tracking daily COVID-19 deaths in the state show a much different trend. COVID-19 deaths have been declining since January shortly after vaccines began rolling out. As of Friday December 17, the state reported seven COVID-19 deaths compared to January’s all-time high of 118 daily deaths.

“There’s no doubt the COVID vaccine has saved likely ten- if not hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, VP for Data and Analytics at Regenstrief Institute. “We don’t expect the vaccine to prevent every case, but it dramatically reduces your risk of getting it.”

Dr. Grannis explained that no vaccine is perfect at preventing 100% of infections, but the vaccines do protect Hoosiers from going to the hospital or suffering other severe consequences.

“People who are unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die from COVID than those who are vaccinated,” said Dr. Grannis.

Dr. Christopher Doehring, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Franciscan Health Central Indiana, said he agrees that vaccinations are a big contributor to declining death rates.

Over the last several weeks, Dr. Doehring said Franciscan Health has averaged roughly 80 COVID-19 inpatients each day. That is compared to the all-time high seen last winter with 120 COVID-19 patients.

“Even though the numbers are not as high as maybe it was at its all time peak, the burden on our teams, the fact that we’re still fighting this fight nearly two years in has certainly taken taken a toll,” said Dr. Doehring.

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